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Surviving the Breakup – My Experience 1 Month In

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

If anyone can guess from the title: yes, I am currently going through a breakup. After almost four years of dating, my ex decided to end the relationship four days after Valentine’s Day. Boys ain’t shit. I admit that our relationship wasn’t perfect, but damn, does this one hurt. 

I’d never really been heartbroken over a boy before. I’d even been cheated on in a previous relationship, and honestly, that was a walk in the park compared to this. That ex was early in high school, though, so that isn’t really saying much. I’ll admit I was always the one who broke it off first, realizing there wasn’t really anything I wanted to commit or fully attach myself to. But I’d decided I really wanted this one to work out. 

The first week, as many breakups are, was horrible. The five stages of grief just washed over me in waves. In many ways I thought I was going a little insane: one minute I’m half sobbing, half silent-screaming in my car, the next I’m blasting music and dancing in the kitchen. I could barely eat two bites of food, and I’d wake up with my heart pounding, unable to breathe. In other words, I was a complete mess. 

The first of the five stages of grief is denial; there were absolute moments of denial during the first couple of days. I would wake up and half-expect him to have texted or called in the middle of the night, asking to talk. I would randomly check out the window, looking for his Civic to be parked in his usual spot outside of my house. Then, I’d started to bargain in my head: “Maybe if I apologize to him about my angry reaction to the breakup, he’ll want to come back,” “I should’ve given him more space,” or “I shouldn’t have fought him on treating me better so much,” “I shouldn’t have asked so much of him.” In my mind, I knew this was not very “bad bitch era” of me. He’d hurt me in more ways than one, and yet my heart still didn’t believe that he was gone; my brain couldn’t believe that I didn’t want him to be gone. 

Talking with my friend (who is also conquering her own breakup as well, the absolute queen) during my first week of singledom, she told me something that helped me start letting my ex go: take everything at face value. Don’t think about what was going on in his head. Don’t think about the “maybe in the future” or “I just don’t see us growing together” crap that he gave you when he left. Take how he made you feel in the last few weeks before the breakup, and how he has made you feel right now, because at the end of the day, that’s YOUR reality, and it’s on him. 

When I’d start thinking about the possibilities of a future of being with him again, or simply just missing him and the “good times,” I’d remind myself to take my situation at face value. My mantra went something like this: he’d messed with my head and my heart months before the breakup. Two months before breaking up with me, he gave me a promise ring. A month later, he told me he’d just given me the ring to make me happy, then a few days later tried to return said ring with a string of promises — promises he broke weeks later and left. In no way did he treat my heart with the gentleness and care that it deserved. Would I be okay with someone treating one of my friends this way? Absolutely not. So why was I trying to justify my own mistreatment? 

In relationships, people often give you the same respect, care, and kindness that they give to themselves. And often, the way they treat you is an extension of how they feel about themselves and their own lives. In some ways, this thought gives me peace in the fact that I tried my best in the relationship, and in that regard, I have no regrets. But this thought has also pushed me into the third stage of grief: anger. I’m angry that in many ways, it doesn’t matter how well you treat someone, or how much effort you put into building and improving your life with that person. In the end, the person who loves less has the most power in the relationship. And I’m angry that after four years, he still didn’t know how to love, or even what love was. In many ways, this anger also saves me from the horrible trends of denial, bargaining, and depression. My anger is a sign that I now recognize that I deserved and now demand better, and I am grateful for it. 

After Valentine’s Day, many relationships go through a “spring cleaning” of breakups. Me being one of them, I wanted to share my experience with those that might be going through a breakup, too. Though at times it may feel isolating, you queens are not alone. You are worthy of a love that treats you with kindness and care. It’s better to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t deserve you. And, as I said before, boys ain’t shit. 

Arriana Edralin

Waterloo '25

Arriana Edralin is a second year student at the University of Waterloo, where she is completing her BA in Rhetoric and Literature in the Honours Arts and Business Co-op Program. She is currently working as the Student Recruitment Confirmation Coordinator for the University of Waterloo Faculty of Arts.